Rufina Bazlova comes from the Belarusian city of Grodno, but she has been living and working in the Czech Republic since 2008. She is active in many fields, as well as she speaks several languages and is interested in the folk art coming from countless backgrounds. Rufina is a multi-genre artist involved in various fields and crafts including illustration, author's book, comics, theater, performance, scenography, wood carving, puppet making, masks and costumes design, carving, restoration, sculpting, and also experimenting with analogue photography.
Together with her colleagues from the Theatre faculty of the Academy of performing arts in Prague (DAMU) where she studied, she founded a creative group of puppeteers called Sleď Pod Kožichem (Herring under the fur). Their play “RAW” was the only one from the Czech Republic this year to be nominated for the Greenhorn Award at the prestigious Figura festival in Baden (Switzerland). In her own performative work, Rufina likes to experiment with light, especially in small analogue forms while also examining the uses of light for the creation a dramatic subject or puppets itself. She excels in metaphorical expression and has a great sense for detail. Rufina is a multi-talented independent, freely choosing the topics she works on while having time and freedom to cultivate and master her uses of manual skills. She is in high demand in multiple fields ranging from scenography to illustration.
During the several years she lives in a foreign country, Rufina learned the Czech language flawlessly and no one considers her a foreigner. Among other things, she also worked on several art projects, helping the integration of foreigners in the Czech Republic. She studied folk art, which is her fascination, across nationalities. Furthermore, in 2010 she won the main prize in the international Model Young Package competition for a chocolate packaging with a short comic, which was styled into the logograms of Mesoamerican cultures from the areas where chocolate has its origins.
Rufina is the author of the fully embroidered comic book „Ženokol“, which explores the themes of feminism present in folk traditions. In addition, she recently started to promote her roots in her work for the first time, reacting to the ongoing democratic revolution in Belarus. Her frustration with the situation in her homeland and the fact that she could not actively participate in the street protests, forced her, within hours of the first protests following the presidential election fraud of 2020, to at least support the protesters mentally from abroad. Rufina started to create embroidered images with political meanings resembling the traditional motives of Belarus, all in red and white colours, used by the current regime’s opposition. Her works became immediately understood and popular with many Belarusans and within days it became viral over the social networks. Long live Belarus!
THE HISTORY OF BELARUSIAN VYZHYVANKA, 2020
„Vyzhyvanka" is the name of the technique of traditional belorussian embroidering; „vyshyvat” means to embroider in Belarusian, while „vyzhyvat“ means to survive. The origin idea of making a story/ a comics in that technique consisted of the fact that historically women who make traditional belarusian ornaments couldn't neither read nor write and embroidering was the only way to depict the surrounding life. For that reason they created special geometrical signs and predominantly used red colour as a symbol of the blood and life on the pure linen background that symbolized freedom and purity. Belarusian ornaments are in a way a code for our national history, that could be read as a text. Also I'm captivated by that aesthetic! So the technique was founded and I was looking for a topic. Political events around belarussian elections this year surrounded me from everywhere. And suddenly the puzzle was put together. The national awakening simply demanded this technique of national embroidery. The events of the past months represent a portion of our great history, Belarus changed, woke up, big changes are coming that must be written into the code of embroidery! Also folk embroidery was used as a talisman against evil spirits, I would like to believe that it has not lost this power in our days! :)